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Socially Speaking: QR Codes Bridge the Gap Between Social Media & Your Brand

2012/09/19

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“It’s hip to be square…” When it comes to QR codes, it’s “an idea whose time has come.” QR codes are currently the best way to provide both large and small amounts of information to your customers. QR codes are square barcodes which can be scanned by your customers to access websites, ads and contact information, as well as links geared towards your social media outlets.

QR codes bridge the gap between your business and social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, in a number of ways. A business owner can post QR codes to follow them on Twitter or “like” them on Facebook and/or Google+. When shopping at your business, it is also possible to have something posted on their wall about shopping at your store. For example: ‘John Doe just shopped at ABC convenience store!’ A restaurant owner could provide a QR code which would require a customer to like them on Facebook in return for a YouTube link featuring the preparation instructions of a signature dish on the menu. A Foursquare link can be given to your customers and they can be rewarded for being the most frequent customer in the establishment (the Mayor) with a gift or free product in your store.

Business promotion can also utilize QR codes in the non-computer based social media platform. Contact information embedded codes can be on each of your employees’ business cards. All of their contact information can automatically be downloaded to the recipient’s phone when scanned. This can be useful when trying to make a sale as well as provide your customers with a way to reach out to their salesperson or company contact. Google map information QR codes can be placed in public areas (permitting it is legal) with directions to your store as a way of virally marketing to the general public.

QR codes, however, are dependent on the number of users who have access to some sort of smart phone. The number of smart phone users is a steadily growing trend with no sign of dropping off. In 2011, the number of smart phone users was about 93 million (1), as of January 2012, that number had surpassed 100 million (2). By 2013, the number of smart phone users is projected to grow to 137 million (1). With this upward trend, we can determine that implementing QR codes for your social media outlets with your business is a progressive long-term investment.

Some people may talk about NFC (Near Field Communication) as an alternative, but as this technology is only available in a select group of smartphones, it is not a great way of getting in touch with the mass public. In the case of QR codes however, cameras (which read QR codes) seem to be a standard when it comes to smart phone hardware. With any of the available applications, users can scan these codes with their camera, and be provided with a menagerie of information.

For a professional means of social networking, QR codes can be used to connect with business partners or potential business partners via LinkedIn or other social outlets. In the same respect, professional contact information can be embedded in QR codes to present to potential customers and potential business partners. This is perhaps something that we could possibly see at RetailNOW 2013. In the meantime, when thinking about QR codes remember, “It’s hip to be square…”

Let’s make this interactive. We’d like to hear about your successes and your failures. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, leave them below.

Sources:
1) http://www.statista.com/statistics/201182/forecast-of-smartphone-users-in-the-us/
2) http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2012/3/comScore_Reports_January_2012_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share

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